Data has long been a friend of innovation. The insight it offers into human behaviours and desires is like a window into the soul of our consumers. It tells us who they are and what they want with numerical facts rather than emotional bias. There’s never a truer tale than the results of a behavioural study. We all lie in questionnaires.
And while it’s crucially important to balance data with human insight in marketing execution, innovation can be driven hard and fast by data, be it in the new products, services or technologies it creates, or the ideas it sparks with new-found revelations around human need.
In a recent article in Business Insider, Adam Oxford talks of disruption, another word for the most innovative innovation – that which radicalises an industry. According to Oxford’s article, Professor Clayton M. Christensen of Harvard Business School coined the phrase ‘disruptive innovation’ and described it as “the process of creating entirely new markets and sets of customers”.
Airbnb is cited as a disruptive company. Despite using existing technology, an existing product (rentable space) and accessing an existing market (holidaymakers), Airbnb had the insight to recognise we want to travel, hire and live differently. We all want to be landlords. And we all want to stay in the coolest of locales. Thus, Airbnb broadened the market and gave new opportunities to the kind of people who spread good ideas like wildfire, fuelling brand-love, relatable stories and a resounding amount of marketing fodder. Of course, it most recently culminated in their evocative new logo and a dandy bit of crisis management and marketing. More fuel for the fire? We’ll see.
But there’s a trend for this word ‘disruption’ that, as Oxford points out, is marginally redundant. To be truly innovative, your disruption has to be profitable. Disrupting for the sake of it turns you into that rather irritating school kid who never lets the class get on and learn. Eventually, we don’t want to pay that kid any attention, rather we want them to “shut up and do their homework!”
And the homework is, of course, greater data insights. With more access to data than ever before, we can extract fascinating new revelations about ourselves and the world we live in. There’s no excuse for redundant, unprofitable disruption.
What data insight tools we can access right now? Maybe Google’s Consumer Barometer has useful information for your brand. Google Analytics is the forefather of online data and hold masses of potential for insight. Take any of the free online surveys and dig deep into your own client base to learn hard and fast, or get in touch with us if you need help in discovering more from your data.
The democratisation of data is well underway. It’s becoming easier for us all to access greater data – which means all of us can look into the souls of our consumers and more easily invent desirable things. We have permission to disrupt. The question is, how will you use it to your advantage?
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